The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Here’s a Shocker

Management/ownersip figure demands wage controls, guaranteed profits.

I’m too tired and busy to go over the same old arguments again and again, but three major points:

1. I watch the Bundesliga. I like the Bundesliga; it’s a fine league. But it’s been nearly a decade since a German club won the CL, and only 2 have done it in the last 25 years. The cost of unilateral wage and club financial controls is a vast drop in competitiveness.

2. Speaking of competitiveness, if Gazidis really believes in the policy he’s suggesting he should realize that he’s the last man in the world who ought to be out front advocating it. Arsenal have been borderline noncompetitive at the highest level for years now partly because they’ve chosen to unilaterally disarm in the expenditures race for players. Whether or not you believe that to be a sound policy for long term financial or timeless moral reasons, that choice means that any call from someone affiliated with the club for forced top-down restrictions on club expenditures is going to look like Arsenal trying to force themselves back into competitiveness by regulatory fiat rather than sound football management. Among the people in charge of the game in England, few if any will fail to note this and rightfully or wrongly dismiss the call on those grounds. The only people likely to be convinced are some section of fans looking for a reason to dismiss the success of other clubs, which of course may be the point of this in the end. Few clubs or franchises in Arsenal’s position have ever been above whipping up hysteria at overpaid players as a cover for their own inability or refusal to compete.

3. This needs to be said over and over and over again: salary capping without collectively bargained hard revenue-sharing agreements is unjust. It would amount to an enormous interference in the market for no discernible reason, a forced regulatory transfer of huge revenues from millionaires to billionaires, from people like Samuel Eto’o to people like, well, Alisher Usmanov. There’s no benefit or gain in that alone for fans or the sport, and if you think doing that alone is going to drop the price of your season ticket you’re dreaming- so long as the stadium stays full at current prices, the only question is when those prices will go up again. I agree that over the long term something like the general North American system would be needed- see further down our main page- and I think Gazidis is smart enough to recognize that, but when the call is for wage caps alone in a sport with much weaker unionization than, say, Major League Baseball or the NFL, I wonder. There’s a lot of money there for owners if they can convince people that players alone deserve to be blamed for the present state of affairs.

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July 3, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer, The Arsenal | , ,

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